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Home Sports Ighalo’s brace powers 10-man Al Shabab past Chafai's Damac

Ighalo’s brace powers 10-man Al Shabab past Chafai’s Damac

The Nigerian forward found the net twice in the first half as the White Lion secured an away victory over the Knight of the South

Odion Ighalo was on target twice as Al Shabab defeated Damac 2-1 in Monday’s Saudi Pro League encounter.

The Nigerian had failed to find the net in his last two matches, however, he rediscovered his scoring form to lead Carlos Inarejos’ men past their relegation-threatened hosts.

The White Lion travelled to the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium on the back of their 3-0 victory over Al Ahli their last time out.

Just 12 minutes into the tie, Ighalo put his team ahead thanks to an assist from Saudi Arabian defender Abdullah Al Zoari. Profiting from some disjointed defending by the hosts, the former Manchester United man headed home an Al Zoari cross past Algerian goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba.

The lead lasted for just eight minutes as Emilio Jose Zelaya levelled matters for Noureddine Zekri’s side – left unmarked in the visitors’ goal area, his header from Saleh Al Haydar’s well-taken cross sailed past goalkeeper Zaid Al Bawardi.

The former Super Eagles talisman restored Al Shabab’s lead in the 39th minute with another headed goal. This time, it was on-loan Braga midfielder Fabio Martins who supplied the assist. With that, Ighalo now boasts of three goals in five matches played since joining the Saudi top-flight side.

Despite a more purposeful attacking display by Damac, they were unable to level matters as the first half ended in favour of the six-time Saudi Premier League winners.

In the second half, the hosts came out stronger, albeit, their major undoing was failing to convert the few chances that came their way.

They came close to equalising in the 79th minute, nonetheless, Sergio Vittor’s bicycle-kick kissed the upright with goalkeeper Al Bawardi beaten.

Inarejos’ men were contented to sit back in their half while relying on counter-attacks. Even at that, their advantage was threatened in the closing minutes of the game as Igor Lichnovsky was given his marching orders by referee Turki Al Khudair for serious foul play.

With the win, they cruised to their sixth away triumph of the 2020-21 campaign. After an impressive shift, the 31-year-old Nigerian was substituted in the 90th minute for Hassan Altambakti.

Algeria’s duo of Zeghba and Farouk Chafai were in action from start to finish for the Knight of the South, yet, could do nothing to prevent the defeat.

Thanks to this result, Al Shabab remain at the submit with 44 points from 21 fixtures – five points ahead of second-placed Al Hilal.



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